I have been a practicing Witch now for approximately 15 years. And while I have conducted many rituals, both on my own and with other Witches and Pagans, it has only been in the last few months that I have set up an altar. So why now, what is it and do you really need one?
So what is an altar? Looking up the definitions they talk about a raised structure or mound or platform for worship, religious rites, sacrifice and a place for offerings to be left for the Gods and/or Goddesses. When looking specifically at Wicca then you also get answers like a place to practice Magick or to cast spells, or a place to place symbols that represents Deity and also as always a place to keep your Wiccan tools. But do you really need an alter so that you can do all these things. Well I guess not since I have been practicing for a number of years without one
In all reality you don’t need anything to practice your faith. It is easy enough to be walking in a forest, bush land, by the sea or in the mountains and freely and openly practice your faith. I have even sat in a park with every day people going about every day things and simply and easily connected with the divine. It is nice now having most of my tools in the one space ready to go whenever I need them. I like having an altar set up, but I also know that if space becomes an issue then I will have to pack it up and again store my tools around my home again as I have done for many years now.
For me it is the things I do every day that define my practice and not just what I do in ritual. It is the combination of the whole from the formal ritual that I do, to watching the beautiful Red River Gums and the patterns and color’s they make along the river bed that I walk nearly every day. From the time I spend with other Witches to the Thank you that I give every night to Deity for the day I have just had. All these things make up my practice and all were happening before I set up my altar and they would continue if I have to pack it away.
So why now do I have one, well I guess the simple truth is that the opportunity presented itself for me to be able to, and it is nice having one set up. Time will tell to see how long I will have the available space to keep it.